Friday, June 9, 2006

Hughes High: Destruction Evolution Metal Overdrive

Rock stars and superheroes have a lot in common. Outlandish costumes, fanatical followings, and headline-grabbing antics are part of the experience on both sides. It was only a matter of time before the two worlds collided. Singers wanted to be superheroes, superheroes wanted to be athletes, athletes wanted to be actors, and actors wanted to be singers. There was only one group that managed to be both successful singers and supervillains. D.E.M.O. released their first album, "Deathtrap", in 1982, and kicked off a legacy of loud music, louder battles, and legal headaches.

The band was the brainchild of two individuals. Francis Norman was a small-time gadgetmaker and low-level criminal. He mostly knocked over gas stations and mugged foolhardy tourists in New York. Roger "Dodger" Pellham was a unscrupulous manager for up-and-coming bands out of England. According to Pellham's autobiography, Roger The Artful Dodger, their paths first crossed while in a holding cell in the Bronx. Pellham was in on a possession charge; Norman had his first run in with a cape. After talking to pass the time, they both realized they could help each other out. Pellham had the capital to fund Norman's gadgeteering, and Norman could give Pellham's new bad a unique twist. Thus, D.E.M.O. was born.

Norman became Feedback, keyboardist and field leader of D.E.M.O. He was the member that stuck through the most combinations of bandmates, as the members quit, joined other villain organizations, or went 'solo'. The first group consisted of Feedback and his various gadgets and sonic blasters; Headbanger, the telekinetic lead guitarist; Kid Vicious, the bassist and metal skinned brawler; and Roctopus, the multi-armed alien drummer. This lineup is the most famous and lasted through the groups first three albums.

Pellham always timed the band's crime waves to coincide with a new album release. The only time this pattern was broken was during the famous "Crimes Against Music" crisis, where D.E.M.O. held an arena filled with Boys Next Door fans hostage.